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As a lot of you know, we are training our first foster BC, Hesti. She is a beautiful, lanky, athletic, blue eyed girl and sweet as anything. She is doing very well in her potty training and has learned sit, down, etc as well as the general commands smart dogs learn by osmosis. The problem is that when we go outside the house/back yard, she is no longer motivated to train, even by really yummy treats. You have to actively put food in her mouth for her to notice it's there. I've pegged this as being anxious, stressed and curious when outside her "envelope". We figure this will go away over time....but she's being listed on the ABCR site this week, so time may be lacking. Any suggestions for getting her to calm down and focus outside in the short term? We really want her to be the best she can be....The blue eyes and sweet demenor only go so far when your a wild teenager-dog.

 

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I think that's pretty typical teenager behavior. Plus, it's always harder to take what you've learned inside, to the outside world. Just remember to take it in little bits, if you can't keep her attention for more than a minute, use that minute, and then build on it as her focus improves. Can you try a different treat? Really up the value to something she might find irresistable. Liver, steak, chicken? How about toys? You could try switching to a tug, ball, frisbee reward instead of food? Work training into playtime, make her sit before you toss the ball or frisbee, that type of thing?

 

Good luck! She is a doll, I'm sure she'll be adopted quickly.

 

ETA: Oops. I just realized you meant outside of your own backyard and in the real world. Sorry, I first thought you just meant outside the house. So, some of my ideas might not be so helpful. But, still, baby steps and higher value reward might help.

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Have you tried clicker training? Keep in mind, a dog will shut down if they're being pushed to hard. If she knows the basics and will do them, then she will gradually learn to preform places where there are more distractions....you can't rush perfection :rolleyes:.

 

Also, anyone willing to take her on who is worth their salt, is going to have to accept her as she is...and understand that with time and work, they'll have a great dog! If they were getting a pup, just think what they'd have to go through....

 

LIz

 

As a lot of you know, we are training our first foster BC, Hesti. She is a beautiful, lanky, athletic, blue eyed girl and sweet as anything. She is doing very well in her potty training and has learned sit, down, etc as well as the general commands smart dogs learn by osmosis. The problem is that when we go outside the house/back yard, she is no longer motivated to train, even by really yummy treats. You have to actively put food in her mouth for her to notice it's there. I've pegged this as being anxious, stressed and curious when outside her "envelope". We figure this will go away over time....but she's being listed on the ABCR site this week, so time may be lacking. Any suggestions for getting her to calm down and focus outside in the short term? We really want her to be the best she can be....The blue eyes and sweet demenor only go so far when your a wild teenager-dog.

 

44613_1357703467321_1373533897_30846333_7839889_n.jpg

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Have you tried clicker training? Keep in mind, a dog will shut down if they're being pushed to hard. If she knows the basics and will do them, then she will gradually learn to preform places where there are more distractions....you can't rush perfection :rolleyes:.

 

Also, anyone willing to take her on who is worth their salt, is going to have to accept her as she is...and understand that with time and work, they'll have a great dog! If they were getting a pup, just think what they'd have to go through....

 

LIz

 

Thanks for the reminder. I had thought of using the clicker with Hesti. I think this situation would seem to fit.

I resisted (or rather ignored) the clicker with Cerb and he turned out great....but I had the luxury of starting him at eight weeks, rather than eight months.

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Dear Doggers,

Probably the quickest and most reliable way to train a pet dog for ordinary obedience is with an ecollar. It is also, far and away, the most potentially harmful training method, requiring a highly skilled professional trainer with a couple years ecollar experience.

 

Donald McCaig

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Mr. McCaig, are you serious??

 

Lewis, Liz makes a great point. Of course you want to do your best with Hesti, but any person worth adopting to, should hopefully understand that at 8 months old, she's definitely a work in progress.

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Lewis, Liz makes a great point. Of course you want to do your best with Hesti, but any person worth adopting to, should hopefully understand that at 8 months old, she's definitely a work in progress.

 

 

I agree. I just want to do everything possible to make sure she gets adopted and stays adopted....by the right family. That's my job as a foster dad.

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Personally, I wouldn't worry about doing a lot of training in a short time. Good training takes time.

 

I would focus on helping the dog learn to be as comfortable and confident as possible in what time you have. If she is adopted quickly, the new owner might want to do the training his or herself. And she might not be adopted quickly, so you might have more time than you are expecting. And in that case, you would have time for more training.

 

When we adopted Dean he was a very wild adolescent. I kept a blog where I have some detail about the work I did with him in his first weeks and months with us. If you would like the link, PM me and I'd be happy to share it with you. You might glean something helpful.

 

In any case, enjoy your foster!

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Dear Doggers,

 

I am pleased to agree with Ms. Hammer who wrote: "Good training takes time."

 

I have one and only one advantage over better sheepdog trainers: I can be patient. Top dog retrainer/sellers make their profit by buying a thousand dollar dog and reselling that dog for four thousand. The more time training takes, the less per hour for their time. Most top trialers who take in a started dog want quick results. Yes, there are exceptions - but generally, top handler/trainers don't have (need?) the patience that is my #1 training tool.

 

It takes about a week before a new (trained open) dog is a member of my pack, perhaps a month before the dogs really sort things out. Depending on bonding strategies, it takes weeks before the dog knows me - and I know him/her. It will likely be a couple weeks before I even put the dog on sheep and when I do, It'll likely be wordlessly - either routine chore work or small ring work. I am unlikely to insist - unless the dog is exceptionally strong willed and needs to know that I can. I will work as softly as I can, reprove as infrequently as I can for several months. I will use my whistles (unknown to the dog) accompanied with soft voice commands when I first talk/train the dog.

 

I will, and must, have more patience because my dog/sheep reading skills aren't quite as sharp as the top trainer's skills. My timing is a millisecond slower than theirs. So the dog must learn to work with and around my faults, as well as with my scant virtues. When I miscommand, the dog has to think, "Oh, there's Old Donald again" and keep on keepin' on, instead of "That dope doesn't know what he's doing. What am I doing out here????" and nailing a sheep.

 

Patience produces trust and generosity. Generosity can win.

 

Donald McCaig

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Hello everyone,

 

Oh, Donald...your posts always make me smile! I fully agree that good training takes time, as does the relationship between the dog and its new person. A year ago this past weekend, I purchased a little dog that has quite a bit of "baggage", and she has a history of being passed around from handler to handler. The dog worked for me from the start, fit in well with my pack, and was fairly easily managed. But, there was something missing in our relationship. About six weeks ago, things slowly started to change, and this little dog has become mine. I think that she came to realize that she is finally home, and the change in her is wonderful to see. Welcome home, Maid.

 

Regards to all,

nancy

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Since I foster, I will comment on the getting the dog ready thing. I think it's wonderful that you've taken this on. I wish more people would.

 

I have found that the average dog owner does not do the same things with their dogs that I do. So I spend most of my time with fosters teaching what I think the average dog owner would expect from their dog. It's actually rather simple. Housebreaking is important, no counter surfing, no eating or chewing on inappropriate items, taking treats gently, polite greetings, not being a freight train on a leash. Once the dog gets comfortable in our home, being part of our pack, bonding some, I'll start some other training. Sit, down, come, stay. I give them plenty of time to get used to us and our routine first. I find that they need time to see me as someone who's essential. I think Mr. McCaig's point of the dog getting to know you and you the dog is a very important one. We need time to chill and get to know each other. I've had dogs that offered me a sit right away, and others that any kind of command was way too stressful.

 

I think Paula's idea of finding the right motivator is good and then just have some fun. :rolleyes:

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More great suggestions!

The potty training is going apace...she hasn't had an accident in about a week and asks to go outside, but her leash manners are still atrocious...sometimes. Part of the trouble of training a smart dog is that they can ascertain what they can get away with with different people. I'm of the "sit on them" school when it comes to training to walk on lead. I keep a very short lead and do a ton of little corrections as the walk progresses. Basically, I never LET her get out of line. There are some big corrections (we have a gazillion rabbits here) but usually it's just little tugs and a lot of praise when she gets it right. When my daughter or wife walk her, they tend to let her have too much of her own head and then do major corrections. My wife calls it "Hestirobics" and always comes back from their walks tired, sweaty and vowing to never do it again.

As for counter surfing, it's kind of hard to train for if she only does it episodically. I've only caught her twice and she was quite contrite when I used "the voice".

The jumping up to greet is also hard to train when your friends either conveniently forget to scold her or flat out ignore our wishes :rolleyes: . She knows not to do it with us....

Otherwise, Hesti is a very sweet, loving, smart dog with zero major behavior issues. We'd keep her if we had room for Cerb, her and another foster.

 

Since I foster, I will comment on the getting the dog ready thing. I think it's wonderful that you've taken this on. I wish more people would.

 

I have found that the average dog owner does not do the same things with their dogs that I do. So I spend most of my time with fosters teaching what I think the average dog owner would expect from their dog. It's actually rather simple. Housebreaking is important, no counter surfing, no eating or chewing on inappropriate items, taking treats gently, polite greetings, not being a freight train on a leash. Once the dog gets comfortable in our home, being part of our pack, bonding some, I'll start some other training. Sit, down, come, stay. I give them plenty of time to get used to us and our routine first. I find that they need time to see me as someone who's essential. I think Mr. McCaig's point of the dog getting to know you and you the dog is a very important one. We need time to chill and get to know each other. I've had dogs that offered me a sit right away, and others that any kind of command was way too stressful.

 

I think Paula's idea of finding the right motivator is good and then just have some fun. :D

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I found it effective to keep Robin on a lead -- even at home -- to keep him under control around those folks don't mind him jumping on them. :D. We'd keep our distance, he'd sit, then I'd release him with the command "say hi"....and he'd walk up to them and have to sit down to be admired and petted. With strangers who would ask to pet him, I'd say sure, but he has to sit first, and we'd go through the same routine using the "say hi" command. But again, this is training her new owner will do with her. You are just getting her started. Unless you are, as they say, starting to fail Foster 101 :D.

 

Liz

 

.

The jumping up to greet is also hard to train when your friends either conveniently forget to scold her or flat out ignore our wishes :rolleyes: . She knows not to do it with us....

Otherwise, Hesti is a very sweet, loving, smart dog with zero major behavior issues. We'd keep her if we had room for Cerb, her and another foster.

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You are just getting her started. Unless you are, as they say, starting to fail Foster 101 :D.

 

Liz

 

The motto here is "failure is not an option". If we fail, we have to stop fostering. Our small house (1200 sq. ft.) and yard has a carrying capacity of two dogs the size of Hesti and Cerb. :rolleyes: The best way we can express our love for each foster dog will be to find them an active, engaged and loving home.

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Personally, I wouldn't worry about doing a lot of training in a short time. Good training takes time.

 

+1.

 

You really have not had her very long, has it been 2 weeks now? Maybe 3?

 

Give her more time, be fair and consistent and and work in baby steps.

 

It will come before you know it.

 

Have you found anything that trips her trigger yet? Does she adore stuffies, or frisbees or a tug? Every dog I know has some thing that they value above all else and when you find it, use it. At her age her brains are wont to accidentally be misplaced for a while, she will find them again.

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Dear Doggers,

Mr. Moon writes: "I keep a very short lead and do a ton of little corrections as the walk progresses. Basically, I never LET her get out of line."

 

I see the very short lead more often than I like and always think the owner is afraid of his/her dog. Besides, it doesn't work. If the dog hasn't freedom to do wrong, corrections are nagging, yadadada.. With most Border Collies, a standard six or eight foot lead on a flat collar, is all you need. If the dog charges the leash end it gets corrected. A simple leash pop works for most - I don't like a voice command I'mteaching the dog to avoid the end of the leash, not my disapproval.

 

One, two, maybe three silent gentle (you're just getting his attention) pops should teach the dog to walk loose leash. With untrained dogs, praise is at best a distraction and usually a release, "What a good dog!" is likely to have him charge the leash again. I have never understood why people praise dogs for doing what they're ordinarily supposed to do and I'm reasonably certain that such praise merely confirms the dog's opinion that its owner is a twerp.

 

People have been teaching dogs to walk on a loose lead for hundreds of years and Border Collies are the easiest dogs to train. Don't be afraid of your dog. Even without perfect control he's unlikely to do anything terribly wicked.

 

Donald McCaig

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When I work with Whisper to teach her something new, I allow her plenty of time to understand what I am asking of her, and then give her time and space to do it. I allow her to make errors, and if she does make errors, I repeat the lesson over and over until she gets it right. If she gets it in ten minutes, great. If it takes ten years, well, that's great too. We're not competing with anybody. Training takes time and patience. As Mr. McCaig posted, she's "...unlikely to do anything terribly wicked".

 

To the OP, I would priortize what you want her to learn in the time you have her. Housetraining, obviously, and then prioritze the basics: her name, sit, stay, etc. Never rush the dog. Anything I've ever been advised from trainers of any animals (dogs, horses, etc)--it takes a long time to unteach something. On a tangent: I once read a story about a person who trained the foal they were handraising (the mare died) to stand up on it's hind legs and put its front hooves on the person's shoulders. This may be cute when the foal is six days old. It's not so cute when that same foal is six years old and you have a 1200 pound horse trying to rest his forelegs on you.

 

Good luck with your foster!

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I'm slow but I eventually caught onto the fact that when I said "Good boy" Robin often went haring off on an unannounced break because I had inadvertently taught "good boy" as a release command in obedience training. Now, when he's doing something right, I nod or smile at him and we continue on in perfect agreement. Brodie on the other had, wags his tail thank you and continues being a good dog when you tell him he's a good dog. He didn't go to formal obedience classes and so didn't get that particular memo.

 

I don't believe they think I'm a twerp but I bet they wish we spoke the same language.

 

Liz

 

Dear Doggers,

usually a release, "What a good dog!" is likely to have him charge the leash again. I have never understood why people praise dogs for doing what they're ordinarily supposed to do and I'm reasonably certain that such praise merely confirms the dog's opinion that its owner is a twerp.

Donald McCaig

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I have to disagree on the short lead issue.

I just talked to my wife (the daughter of a kennel owner who showed dogs all her youth) and she is just about fed up with Hesti lunging and and darting. At ~45lbs she's got some momentum when she hits the end of a leash. I myself have seen her hit the end of the leash and do a complete flip...repeatedly. Thus the short lead. Last night after she did her gymnastic routine I kept her on a short lead and when she wasn't distracted by the gazillion bunnies and quail we have running around, she actually walked with a loose lead for several miles. She's learning...but hopefully before my spouse needs rotater cuff surgery. When she walks well with me it's because I sit on her and give her feedback all the time, both poaitive and negative.

A short lead does not in any way preclude a dog from making and learning from mistakes. In fact they get more (and more timely) feedback, rather than the "look at me I'm free...." jerk (sound of dog strangling) of a long lead.

 

As for the time issue; Yes, I know good training takes time and I am prioratizing behaviors that I would consider the minimum in a pet. She was completely raw when she came to us a week and a half ago and now she will sit, down, go to bed (crate) and has not had an accident in about six days. She's a fast learner for the most part but the walking on lead and listening to commands outdoors are not progressing well.

 

Dear Doggers,

Mr. Moon writes: "I keep a very short lead and do a ton of little corrections as the walk progresses. Basically, I never LET her get out of line."

 

I see the very short lead more often than I like and always think the owner is afraid of his/her dog. Besides, it doesn't work. If the dog hasn't freedom to do wrong, corrections are nagging, yadadada.. With most Border Collies, a standard six or eight foot lead on a flat collar, is all you need. If the dog charges the leash end it gets corrected. A simple leash pop works for most - I don't like a voice command I'mteaching the dog to avoid the end of the leash, not my disapproval.

 

One, two, maybe three silent gentle (you're just getting his attention) pops should teach the dog to walk loose leash. With untrained dogs, praise is at best a distraction and usually a release, "What a good dog!" is likely to have him charge the leash again. I have never understood why people praise dogs for doing what they're ordinarily supposed to do and I'm reasonably certain that such praise merely confirms the dog's opinion that its owner is a twerp.

 

People have been teaching dogs to walk on a loose lead for hundreds of years and Border Collies are the easiest dogs to train. Don't be afraid of your dog. Even without perfect control he's unlikely to do anything terribly wicked.

 

Donald McCaig

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So, have you tried a harness or a halti to help with the pulling while you work on the issue?

 

I'm also sort of confused because you mention (in your first post) some behaviours that you think are due to stress and anxiety while she's outside (and I'm presuming this means on walks). I have a hard time understanding why you're applying punishment to a dog who is displaying anxious/stressful behaviours....

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So, have you tried a harness or a halti to help with the pulling while you work on the issue?

 

I'm also sort of confused because you mention (in your first post) some behaviours that you think are due to stress and anxiety while she's outside (and I'm presuming this means on walks). I have a hard time understanding why you're applying punishment to a dog who is displaying anxious/stressful behaviours....

 

 

Perhaps I should have said over excited/stimulated and the general alertness and anxiousness that comes from that. She loves her walks but goes more than a bit whacko on the end of the leash and becomes really sensitive to small stimuli.

The "punishment", as you call it (although I think that word completely overstates what is happening), is because she completely ignores treats. I haven't found a treat/ toy, etc that she'll even pay attention to when outside on a walk.

Being able to walk nicely on lead is one of the core behaviors she is going to need to do well in her adopted home.

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Have you ever just stood there and waited her out? It sounds like she might just be too over stimulated to learn much regardless of what method you use.

 

I had a foster boy like that once. In my frustration one day I just stood there...it was like 10 minutes before he turned around and looked at me and said "oh! there you are!" and suddenly we were able to engage one another. I had to wait him out 2 more times before he started being engaged with me right away.

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As frustrating as she may be, in order to successfully train her you must be more stubborn that she is. No matter how often she tests her boundaries you must be willing to remind her of what they are. Eventually every dog gives up and accepts that you will not budge. If you give in she will keep on pushing your buttons.

 

You must also be more relaxed and even tempered than the dog (provide an example of how you want her to feel/act). If you are feeling at all annoyed or stressed, end the walk or training session, put her in a crate and do something fun for yourself. Maybe take your dog out for a romp.

 

Some people don't like the Gentle Leader, but I love it for fosters. It instantly gives you better control to make the dog do what you ask without having to get your own temper elevated by jerking, pulling or yelling. It also gives you the ability to turn the dog's head, forcing it to look at you rather than at whatever it is that is over stimulating. I believe you can buy GL kits with a video that shows you how to use it, including how to force a dog to pay attention to you. I tend to be a bit hot tempered myself, so I love using the GL in order to keep myself calm. It provides a very firm yet humane way to get a dog under control almost instantly. Use the power that the GL provides in public situations to reinforce any training you have already accomplished at home.

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Perhaps I should have said over excited/stimulated and the general alertness and anxiousness that comes from that. She loves her walks but goes more than a bit whacko on the end of the leash and becomes really sensitive to small stimuli.

The "punishment", as you call it (although I think that word completely overstates what is happening), is because she completely ignores treats. I haven't found a treat/ toy, etc that she'll even pay attention to when outside on a walk.

Being able to walk nicely on lead is one of the core behaviors she is going to need to do well in her adopted home.

 

That makes way more sense.

 

FWIW, I did not say punishment to imply you are beating the dog, but the way I look at it is, there is reward and punishment. One is positive and one is negative. A correction is negative, therefore punishment.

 

Anyway, waiting her out as suggested works, the gentle leader can work and front clip harnesses work as well. My youngest dog is a bit nuts on a good day, especially when we're on a walk. I let him have at it for the first couple of blocks, let him blow off his steam and be a dog and then we resume walking politely in a fun way. If I can, I will play fetch with him in the back yard for a bit to blow of some of that extra energy, but that's not always possible. Once he's gotten the young dog antics out of his system I will play games with him that include eye contact, walking by my side etc. We've had the luxury of obedience classes so he's got great name recognition and eye contact with me (even if it's for a mili-second some times) and the class was able to give us a good structure and rules to work with and that makes playing those games easier. I use praise, treats and letting him go sniff something or even playing tug with the leash as a reward for doing what I ask. Sometimes, with Riley, sniffing something is the biggest reward I can give him, especially if we're outside... have you tried that? I think there is something in Control Unleashed about using 'being a dog' as the reward.... I think.

 

I think maybe waiting her out could be the best solution for your foster, the reward would then to continue walking, perhaps some praise. I find that sometimes dogs disengage with us because we're boring. Try walking faster, talking to her in a happy tone, make funny noises... Something else I found that worked with Riley is that if he was sniffing something, I didn't bother to pull him off it. If he thought some grass or a tree was that interesting that he had to stop, I made a point to stop with him and wait, the second the leash became slack and he started walking with me again, I would praise him. I was then able to insert "ok" just before that and now the "ok" is his cue to keep walking. That one only took a couple of days too.

 

Anyway, just some random thoughts. Hope you can figure something out. Though, I would expect that an adoptive home is willing to work on some minor obedience with a newly adopted dog and some pulling on the leash shouldn't be a huge hinderance in her adoptability.

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